Rodri says "tactical fouls" are among the aspects of football he is learning since signing for Manchester City.

The midfielder, who joined from Atletico Madrid in July, has appeared in all eight Premier League games for Pep Guardiola's side this term so far.

Guardiola last year issued a strong rebuttal to suggestions from ex-Manchester United captain Gary Neville that City deliberately commit fouls to break up play.

"We try to play, of course sometimes we make fouls. Never my teams are focused on making something wrong for the opponents," said Guardiola.

"We try to attack, to play our game but never to do that to avoid what they do. It's never happened in my career and never will happen in my career because I understand the game in a different approach."

After City beat West Ham 5-0 in August, the club's former manager Manuel Pellegrini highlighted the number of fouls committed by Guardiola's team.

And Rodri confirmed he has been working on 'tactical fouls', as well as other aspects to playing a new position, since swapping Madrid for Manchester.

"I think it's a big challenge for me because I never used to play this position particularly," Rodri said to ESPN FC. "I didn't have this exact role in the team.

"We have lots of offensive players and many other teams try to counter-attack you and a lot of the time you're alone but it's good for me.

"I am learning new things, how to go, when to stay, when I have to do a tactical foul, when I have to jump.

"It's good for me to learn these things. And for the team it's good because we need those offensive players to be able to play our game."

Defeats to Norwich City and Wolves have left City eight points behind Liverpool, who have a 100 per cent Premier League record, in the table.

With neighbours Manchester United struggling, Rodri was asked if Jurgen Klopp's Reds should now be considered City's main rivals.

"I don't know, I had never been in the city before, I don't know how people in the city feel," he said, City having pipped Liverpool to the title by a point last season.

"But the team to beat is Liverpool now and that has been seen the last two seasons. They are the champions of Europe so everyone wants to beat them, not just us.

"They're a great team, they have improved a lot of things, they're a very good team, and they're the best team in England and in Europe."

Manchester City coach Pep Guardiola insists he would not consider selling midfielder Phil Foden for €500m (£460m) because he is the only player at the could who cannot be sold "under any circumstances".

Foden, 19, has long been championed as a star of the future for City and England, having been around Guardiola's first-team squad for almost three years already.

He played named player of the tournament after England's Under-17 World Cup success in 2017 and has steadily become a more prominent player in City's senior squad, playing 26 matches across all competitions last season.

The midfielder has featured for just 10 minutes in the Premier League this term, sparking suggestions he is being held back by City.

But, with David Silva set to leave the club when his contract expires next year, Guardiola is convinced Foden will take over from the former Spain international.

"He [Foden] is the only player that can’t be sold under any circumstances — the only one. Not even for €500m," Guardiola says in the new book Pep's City: The Making of a Superteam, which was written by Spanish journalists Pol Ballus and Lu Martin and is being serialised by in The Sun.

"Phil's going nowhere — Phil is City. We won't be signing anyone else for that position. When David Silva leaves, we know exactly who our new magician will be.

"He's grown up with us. He's one of us and he's going to be brilliant — one of the Premier League's best. One thing is clear, Foden has a place in City's first-team.

"I'd be interested to see if a different manager would have given him his chance to develop or loan him out.

"I don't like leaving him out of certain games, but I must think of the whole squad. Phil understands that."

Lionel Messi admitted he wanted to leave Barcelona in order to get out of Spain after authorities investigated him for tax fraud.

The Argentina star and his father were found guilty of evading tax on income from image rights by a Catalonian court in 2016 and were sentenced to 21 months in prison, although this was changed to a fine a year later.

Messi has now revealed he felt so "mistreated" during the investigation that he considered quitting Barcelona so he could get out of the country, but he thinks other clubs were put off making official offers as they knew he was at heart a one-club man.

"In the years 2012, 2013 and 2014, I had a tough time," Messi told RAC1. "Yes, for the issue with the Hacienda [Spain's state tax agency]. It was really difficult for me and my family because people didn't really know what was happening. They heard things and they opined. A part of the press did the same, too.

"I think I was the first [footballer to be investigated by the Hacienda] and for that reason it was all so hard. My kids were little.

"At that time, I honestly thought about leaving. Not because I wanted to leave Barca, but to leave Spain because I felt mistreated and I didn't want to be here. I had many doors open but never anything official because everyone knew my desire was to continue but it was something which went beyond my feelings towards Barca."

Question marks over Messi's future appeared again this September when he told Sport that, although he did not want to leave Camp Nou, he was eager to be part of a "winning team".

It was suggested the 32-year-old was referring to recent Champions League frustrations, with Barca's last triumph coming in 2015 and their past two campaigns ending in humiliating defeats to Roma and Liverpool.

However, Messi has made it clear he wants to end his career with Barcelona and may even pass on his dream of playing for boyhood club Newell's Old Boys in Argentina before he retires as he does not want to uproot his family.

"It's true we struggled to get started this season, but we have a good squad with great players to be able to win everything," Messi said.

"We are here to win and to win titles. In recent years we have been close. In the last two years, it was our fault for the way we got knocked out. It wasn't the project or the coach. We have a great squad to be able to win everything.

"And obviously, if they want me, I'm delighted [to stay]. I will repeat: my idea is always to stay here. My idea and my family's idea is to end my career here."

He added that he has "always dreamed" of playing for Newell's.

"But sometimes you have to think more about the family than what you want," Messi said. "The family is the most important thing."

Messi also hopes to see former team-mate Xavi return to Barca as a coach, even if that happens after he has retired. Xavi is currently coaching Qatari side Al Sadd.

"He's in training and at some point he'll come back here," Messi added. "I have a feeling he'll be similar to [Pep] Guardiola. I don't know if I'll experience it as a player, of course."

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said "there are a lot of games to go" after his side handed the Premier League title advantage to Liverpool with a shock home defeat to Wolves.

The Reds – last season's runners-up behind City – opened up an eight-point lead over Guardiola's men on Saturday with a last-gasp win over Leicester City.

City were unable to bridge that gap at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday, however, with two late Adama Traore goals giving Wolves a surprise, but thoroughly deserved, three points.

The margin of victory could have been even greater had Nuno Espirito Santo's side taken advantage of a host of opportunities handed to them in the first half by City's porous defence.

Guardiola defended his players, however, and believes there is plenty of time left in the campaign for them to claw their way back into contention for a third consecutive Premier League triumph.

"Come on guys, there are a lot of games to go," he told a media conference. "We lost to a good team, who were really organised, so strong in the air and so fast in the counter attack.

"I know these guys [his players]. Still they are incredibly involved and can do it. What happened, happened. Most of the teams who won [the Premier League] in the past, the year after, don't win.

"Today, we were not at our usual level. The previous games were good, but the distance is big. I know that. Liverpool is not dropping points. But we are in October; there is still a lot of games and competitions."

The continued absence of Aymeric Laporte and John Stones meant Guardiola was once again forced into fielding Nicolas Otamendi and midfielder Fernandinho in central defence.

They were caught out on a number of occasions by Wolves' incisive counter-attacking moves, while Otamendi was guilty of a host of misplaced passes and errant challenges throughout the 90 minutes.

Guardiola defended the pair, though, and stated they were not helped by the carelessness of the players in front of them.

"They were quite good," he said. "They suffered because we lost the position in front of them. No central defenders can defend the kind of balls we lose there. They were good."

Adama Traore's two-goal haul in Wolves' shock victory over Manchester City was a reward for playing "to the limit of his strengths", according to Nuno Espirito Santo.

Wolves defended stoically at the Etihad Stadium on Sunday and consistently threatened on the counter-attack, though the game remained goalless at half-time.

City dominated possession after the restart but were unable to find a breakthrough and Traore punished them on the break in the 80th minute before completing a 2-0 triumph in stoppage time.

Traore played most of the game at right wing-back but was moved up front late on and used his pace to put the hosts' makeshift defence to the sword.

"He played good. He went to the limit of his strengths. He did very well. Not only him, all the players did well. We have to congratulate them today, they were fantastic," said Nuno, who steered his team to a 1-0 win at Besiktas in the Europa League on Thursday.

"I am very, very proud, it was a very good performance [by the team]. More than the performance was the work of the players, they ran.

"It's very difficult to play against City, they are so good, they move the ball so fast, it requires a lot of high-speed running, so the boys worked very hard.

"I'm happy and I'm satisfied because this is how we work. All the games we've had, we always compete under our game plan. Sometimes we perform better than others, but the motivation to compete and prepare for the game is always there.

"This is what makes me more proud, having a fantastic group of players that want to grow and believe in the way we work. Now we have the challenge to sustain this level of performance, this is the hardest part of football."

Traore, who showed surprising composure to get on the scoreboard for the first time since September 2018, praised Nuno's approach to the game.

"The plan always works with the manager. I believe in him and how he works, and he believes in me and that is important," the former Barcelona youngster told beIN SPORTS.

"I've been playing in different positions and today I played in right wing-back and striker. Whatever the position I can adapt my quality there. [Nuno] makes me a better player.

"I think everyone on the pitch worked so hard, so I'm happy for everyone."

With eight games gone, reigning Premier League champions Manchester City are eight points adrift of early pacesetters Liverpool following a shock 2-0 loss to Wolves on Sunday.

City's start to 2019-20 has been hindered by a series of defensive injuries. Their best centre-back, Aymeric Laporte, is a long-term absentee, while Benjamin Mendy joined John Stones as a hamstring injury victim this weekend.

Add the fact they failed to replace long-serving captain Vincent Kompany in the transfer window and it is no surprise their defence is in dire straits.

The paucity of first-team options at the back is making manager Pep Guardiola go against his instincts.

Prior to a 2-2 draw against Tottenham in August, a match for which Laporte was available, Guardiola was asked about the possibility of deploying club-record signing Rodri and Fernandinho together in defensive midfield for crunch matches.

"I don't believe in football putting these two guys [in front of the defence] gives you more security for the team," said Guardiola. "I've never believed in my life that by putting in more defensive holding midfielders you defend better.

"You play better, especially with the ball, when everybody commits and everybody fights without the ball. So when we defend better it's because there are 11 reasons. You have to find the balance."

Guardiola has been forced to use his first-choice holding midfielder Fernandinho as a centre-back, hastening a planned transition for the 34-year-old and meaning City they are without the man they need screening a makeshift back four.

Ilkay Gundogan and Rodri sat in front of the defence on Sunday and proved Guardiola right; two holding midfielders does not always provide greater security.

City were vulnerable to the break. A stray pass from Riyad Mahrez in the 19th minute let Raul Jimenez in and only a fine recovering tackle from Fernandinho kept him at bay, the Brazilian somehow managing to block Patrick Cutrone's follow-up while down on the deck too.

The champions' case was not aided by Nicolas Otamendi. In times like these, what Guardiola needs most is a competent performance from his only fit centre-back. The Argentine failed to rise to the occasion.

Otamendi's stray pass on halfway let Wolves break again, with Fernandinho just doing enough to put Jimenez off without conceding a penalty when the Mexican was one-on-one with Ederson.

Wolves were at the door, and City were leaving it wide open.

It perhaps did not help that Guardiola deployed Joao Cancelo, a player far more familiar with the right side of the back four, at left-back while Oleksandr Zinchenko and Angelino started on the bench.

Zinchenko was sent on at the conclusion of a lacklustre first half, but City remained without any drive from midfield or a coherent attack. They sent in 29 crosses from open play – since the start of last season the only times they attempted more in the Premier League was during similar shock defeats to Norwich City (31) and Crystal Palace (30).

David Silva rattled the crossbar from a free-kick in City's best chance before Cancelo ceded possession high up the pitch and Wolves surged clear. Jimenez negotiated a flailing and ineffective Otamendi challenge and squared for Adama Traore to slot an uncharacteristically composed finish beyond Ederson.

Another rapid break saw a disjointed City carved apart with ease and Traore complete the scoring in the fourth added minute.

The international break has arrived at a good time for City and Guardiola – with Stones and the influential Kevin De Bruyne expected to be back when they resume at Crystal Palace on October 19 – although the chance to bolster their centre-back options in the January transfer window may be their best opportunity to set things straight.

Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola said his side were way off their best as they slipped to a shock 2-0 home defeat to Wolves on Sunday.

Adama Traore's two breakaway goals in the final 10 minutes mean the Premier League champions remain eight points adrift of leaders Liverpool after the Reds' last-gasp winner against Leicester City on Saturday.

Wolves squandered a host of earlier opportunities to score before Traore's late double, and Guardiola – whose side have now lost two of their eight league games this season – concedes it was a "bad day" for the club.

"We started decent, quite well, but conceded counter-attacks," he told BBC Sport. "We were not at our best. We had chances to score but it was a bad day and lost the game.

"We did not make good decisions; we had problems in that sense. We are a team that plays a specific way, but it is a bad day. That happens sometimes.  Now we have the international break, then we can come back and go to the other games."

Kyle Walker was substituted at half-time, with Guardiola revealing the defender has struggled after an infection this week.

"Kyle did not feel good," Guardiola confirmed. "He did not train well after an infection and we had to change him."

City return to action after the international break on October 19 with a visit to high-flying Crystal Palace.

Phil Foden's lack of game time at Manchester City will not dissuade youngsters from joining the Premier League champions, according to Pep Guardiola.

Former Barcelona and Bayern Munich boss Guardiola has frequently spoken of his admiration for Foden, calling him "the most talented player" he has coached, but the teenager has still managed just 10 minutes as a substitute in the Premier League this season.

The 19-year-old is considered the finest player to have emerged from City's academy in recent years but, despite significant investment in their youth teams, graduates at the club have struggled for playing time due to the raft of established senior stars blocking their path.

Yet Guardiola is not worried about youngsters snubbing City for other opportunities.

"No. I don't think so," he said.

"If a guy, we seduce him – agents and players – and they want to come, they can come.

"I don't see the age [as a problem]. If the players want to come, they will come. If they don't want to come, they don't come.

"I said many times what is my opinion of Phil Foden. Everybody in this room knows my opinion of Phil Foden, so he's 18, 19 years old, plays quite enough minutes in this period.

"He will play a lot this season and the next seasons."

Guardiola, who led City to a domestic treble in 2018-19, has an enviable array of midfield talent at his disposal and has preferred to utilise Kevin De Bruyne, Bernardo Silva and David Silva ahead of Foden.

While Foden appears content to bide his time having signed a new contract last year, Jadon Sancho, two months Foden's senior, sought pastures new and is now a regular with both Borussia Dortmund and England.

Guardiola admits the need to challenge for multiple trophies every year means City cannot adopted a youth-first policy, such as the one Frank Lampard has overseen at Chelsea this term.

"This team needs to win titles and prizes," Guardiola explained. "The process for the young players needs time and the best way is step by step for the players that we have.

"The demand for the club – not to win the Champions League, but to be in there all the time for all competitions, for that it needs the players that we have.

"What can I say? The talent is there and when they are talented, they will play. At the same time we have to compete every single day to fight with the best teams in England and Europe.

"For that we need David Silva, Kevin De Bruyne, Sergio Aguero, Fernandinho and all these types of players. With the young, young players, you cannot win. The young players can help the other ones but the basis for the young, it's not possible."

Kevin De Bruyne has been ruled out of Sunday's Premier League game against Wolves but Manchester City manager Pep Guardiola expects the playmaker and John Stones to return after the international break.

De Bruyne missed the Champions League defeat of Dinamo Zagreb in midweek with a groin injury sustained in City's previous game, a Premier League win against Everton.

Guardiola indicated after the Dinamo victory he was considering whether he could "risk" De Bruyne after City lost at Norwich City when the playmaker was named a substitute last month.

But, speaking ahead of Wolves' visit to the Etihad Stadium, Guardiola confirmed De Bruyne would not be available though he does not expect the midfielder to be out for long.

"Tomorrow he is not fit," Guardiola told reporters of De Bruyne, who is not in Belgium's squad.

"Sometimes he's not playing, one game at Norwich, sometimes substitute, when he feels good, he's good.

"After the international break he will be ready."

Stones has been out since mid-September, joining Aymeric Laporte on the sidelines and leaving City with Nicolas Otamendi as their only fit specialist senior centre-back after club captain Vincent Kompany's departure.

"Hopefully after the international break he'll be back," Guardiola added of the England international.

Fernandinho has filled in with Stones and Laporte both unavailable and Guardiola is not concerned about the 34-year-old's fitness levels.

"He didn't have many minutes in his legs before these games," Guardiola said. 

"Except the last part of last season he's played every three days over 11 months, I think he can do it."

Wolves have only beaten bottom side Watford in the Premier League this season but head to Manchester on the back of a last-gasp Europa League win at Turkish giants Besiktas on Thursday.

Balancing domestic and European commitments has proven difficult for Wolves but Guardiola backed Nuno Espirito Santo's side to get to grips with that challenge.

"Nuno knows how to handle it," Guardiola said. "Yesterday they made an incredible result, so solid, what I expected.

"I think they have a big squad and they know what they have to do. Three or four seasons together with the same manager and their structure in defence is really impressive."

Pep Guardiola has predicted his "outstanding" right-back Kyle Walker will rise to the challenge after losing his place in the England squad.

For the second international break in a row, Manchester City star Walker has been left out by Gareth Southgate.

Walker faces strong competition for his position from players including Trent Alexander-Arnold, Aaron Wan-Bissaka and Kieran Trippier, who was left out for the Nations League Finals but has regained his spot after joining Atletico Madrid.

Guardiola, though, is in no doubt 29-year-old Walker can fight his way back into contention for the Three Lions having played throughout the 2018 World Cup for Southgate's side.

"Kyle, it's a big challenge for him to show the manager from England how good he is and ready to come back," Guardiola told a news conference on Friday ahead of Sunday's Premier League game at home to Wolves.

"In our sports life always it's about challenge, deals, targets. He has one in front of him in every single game to show how good he is and come back in the national team.

"He came as an incredible, outstanding player and he still is, physicality strong and fast, we try to help him since we're together to be a better player.

"We ask him many times to attack from wide or inside; Kyle Walker is a player who can do everything. But the opinion is of Gareth the manager, I'm not here to… he makes a decision to select and he decided the last two times.

"I respect it, Kyle respects it, Gareth does what he does for the national team. It's a challenge for Kyle to show how good he is. My opinion doesn't change whether he's in or not, he remains an incredible full-back."

City signed right-back Joao Cancelo from Juventus in the transfer window and the Portugal international has impressed in the Carabao Cup and Champions League, but Guardiola indicated Walker will remain his first choice.

"Against Preston he made a step forward with all the kids, last game really good too," Guardiola said of Cancelo. "Because he arrived late, not in pre-season, things we work on he was not there, it was different to his previous team so we need time.

"But he's getting better with and without the ball. He's understanding what we want and he played well in the last two games. Kyle I don't have doubts about, Danilo played a couple of games last season.

"We cannot play with just one player. We survived with one [left-sided] full-back with Fabian [Delph] and Alex [Zinchenko] so we need this player to move forward, let Kyle rest and sometimes Joao plays to take his position. It is what it is."

Guardiola would not comment on Bernardo Silva being charged by the Football Association following a racially insensitive social media post about City team-mate Benjamin Mendy.

Tiemoue Bakayoko is surprised the Twitter controversy involving his former Monaco team-mates Bernardo Silva and Benjamin Mendy has resulted in a Football Association charge for the Portugal international.

Manchester City playmaker Silva last month tweeted – and subsequently deleted – a photo of a young Mendy and a dated image from Conguitos, a Spanish confectionary brand that has been criticised for having racist connotation. The post was captioned "Guess who?"

On Wednesday, Silva was charged with an alleged breach of FA Rule E3 on account of the post being "insulting and/or improper and/or [bringing] the game into disrepute". It is further alleged the offence amounts to an "aggravated breach" because it included "reference, whether expressed or implied, to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin".

City manager Pep Guardiola stridently defended Silva as an "exceptional person", and winger Raheem Sterling said he felt there was no racist intent in the message, although he acknowledged he could see why offence might have been caused.

Monaco midfielder Bakayoko played alongside Silva and Mendy in a previous stint with the Ligue 1 club as a swashbuckling side won the title and reached the semi-finals of the Champions League in 2016-17.

Like Guardiola and Sterling, he alluded to the pair's strong friendship.

"I'm quite surprised and shocked that it went so far," he told Omnisport. "We all know that Bernardo and Ben are very close.

"I have been on their team, I saw them every day during three years, I know their relationship. I think it's a shame to punish them for this.

"I almost don't want to answer, because we all know how Bernardo is. He's sweet, he's very kind, he has a big heart. So no, clearly, he's not racist."

As part of Silva's submission to the FA to apologise for the tweet, Mendy defended his friend and explained he took no offence over the racially insensitive post.

Bakayoko remembers jokes between the two being a regular feature during their Monaco days.

"They were picking [on] each other, it was fair game," he said. "They like to joke about each other, but they really like each other.

"This is what matters. Now we're talking about racism between them, I can't believe it.

"But I realise that it's getting bigger, I hope it won't go as far as a suspension for a few games."

If found guilty, Silva could face a fine and/or a suspension and be enrolled on an education course.

The FA this year increased its minimum ban for instances of racist abuse during matches to six games, although this does not automatically apply to social media posts.

Bernardo Silva has been charged by the Football Association (FA) over his racially insensitive social media post about Manchester City team-mate Benjamin Mendy.

The midfielder has until October 9 to respond to a misconduct charge, which relates to an alleged breach of FA Rule E3.

Portugal international Silva last month tweeted – and subsequently deleted – a photo of a young Mendy and a dated image from Spanish confectionary Conguitos that has been criticised for its racist connotations.

The post included the caption: "Guess who?"

Silva, after receiving staunch public support from City manager Pep Guardiola, wrote to the FA to apologise and is understood to be close friends with Mendy, who did not appear to take offence.

But the governing body has initiated disciplinary proceedings against the 25-year-old, with the nature of the tweet amounting to an alleged "aggravated breach" of the rules.

An FA statement read: "It is alleged that the Manchester City player's activity breaches FA Rule E3(1) as it was insulting and/or improper and/or brought the game into disrepute.

"It is further alleged that the activity constitutes an 'aggravated breach', which is defined in FA Rule E3(2), as it included reference, whether expressed or implied, to race and/or colour and/or ethnic origin."

Guardiola has vehemently defended Silva's character, describing him as an "exceptional person," and City star Raheem Sterling offered support following the weekend win over Everton.

"It's between two friends as everyone knows," Sterling told Sky Sports. "I can see exactly why some people can get touchy on it, but in that situation Bernardo made a joke to his friend."

Benfica product Silva joined City from Monaco in 2017.

Raheem Sterling's hunger and desire to score goals means Pep Guardiola believes the Manchester City star has plenty more improvement left to make.

England winger Sterling came off the bench to break Dinamo Zagreb's dogged resistance in Tuesday's Champions League Group C match at the Etihad Stadium, before brilliantly setting up fellow substitute Phil Foden to seal a 2-0 victory in stoppage time.

It moved the 24-year-old Sterling on to nine goals in all competitions this season – well on the way to the 25 he chalked up last time around.

"I said many times, in a few years he will be a better player than today," Guardiola said after a match where his team backed up their tournament-opening 3-0 victory away to Shakhtar Donetsk.

"His desire, the way he came in, he saw the first ball and attacked one against two. He was aggressive and the crowd said 'wow'.

"Raheem is a player who is always there. He has this talent. He loves to score goals. On the crosses you always have that feeling."

It marks a contrast with the player Guardiola inherited on the back of a torrid Euro 2016.

Then, a mistake or wasted chance could severely knock Sterling off his stride.

Now, as evidenced by him wrapping up a 3-1 Premier League win at Everton last Saturday despite a wretched earlier miss from close range, City's most potent attacking threat will relentlessly go back for more.

"He said a few days ago that he missed chances against Everton but never was upset, was never thinking about bad mistakes. He was thinking about another [chance]," Guardiola said

"That is the point with Raheem. The feeling we had in the first season when we arrived here was he played good but it was like the goal… he didn't care.

"Now, all the movements are there. [He gets] the ball and he is going to try and score. Still he can improve, in the finishing and the last decision.

"The pass to Phil was perfect. Commit, make a good decision, [using] the movement of Riyad [Mahrez] as well. It was good.

"But I still think he has a gap to improve and be even more clinical. The important thing is all the time he is there.

"That is the reason why this season and the previous season he has scored a lot of goals."

Ilkay Gundogan suffered trials of a different kind after becoming Guardiola's first signing at City, with an anterior cruciate ligament injury decimating his 2016-17 season in Manchester.

While never likely to provide the explosive contributions in which Sterling increasingly specialises, the Germany international's calm and controlled display in midfield was pivotal in City's efforts to grind Dinamo down - underlining his value to his manager.

"Gundogan, you cannot believe it how good he is. He's an exceptional player. He can play in different positions, his work ethic," Guardiola gushed.

"I missed him a lot, our first season here when after a few months he injured his ACL and was more than six months out. He is one of the best signings this club has done in its history."

Pep Guardiola said it is possible he can take a "risk" on Kevin De Bruyne's fitness for Manchester City's Premier League contest against Wolves on Sunday.

City star De Bruyne was absent for Tuesday's 2-0 Champions League win over Dinamo Zagreb at the Etihad Stadium due to a minor groin injury.

De Bruyne has nine assists in as many competitive games this term and City missed his incision against Dinamo, where Raheem Sterling came off the bench to score the opener then set up Phil Foden in added time to keep Guardiola's side perfect in Group C.

City manager Guardiola said there is a chance De Bruyne could be back for the Wolves fixture but is confident he will return after the international break regardless.

"It's not serious, but today he could not play," Guardiola told a news conference of De Bruyne's injury. "We'll see next Sunday.

"For the weekend, right now I don't know. Maybe he can get fit. We are going to see if we can take a risk.

"I think after the international break he will be fit."

Sterling backed Foden for an England call-up after the teenager's second Champions League goal, with Guardiola apologising to the local-born midfielder for not giving him more opportunities.

"He deserves to play," Guardiola added. "Every time he plays I am unfair to him. I'm sorry.

"But there is David Silva, there is Kevin De Bruyne, there is [Ilkay] Gundogan, there is Bernardo [Silva] there is Rodri. I am so sorry.

"The best way to grow and grow is to play minutes. He is going to be an incredible player for us. We trust a lot in him. It is what it is."

Dinamo thumped Atalanta 4-0 in their Group C opener and head coach Nenad Bjelica was not disconsolate with his side's performance against the Premier League champions.

"After we conceded we tried to turn to attack more, we had an open match against Manchester City until the end and it is not a small thing," he said. "They are a level above us and they showed that today.

"We conceded that first goal in the best phase of our play. We were nervous a lot during the match, making mistakes, the home team had a lot of good chances."

And so, Pep Guardiola is two from two in his latest quest for a fourth Champions League crown, to add to the three he won at Barcelona - one as a player and two as a coach.

Unlike significant sections of the Manchester City faithful, Europe's top competition has no need to seduce Guardiola. He remains enthralled by the big trophy, despite the path towards it seeming to mock him fatalistically over recent years.

The Catalan's contract in Manchester suggest he will get another tilt at continental glory next season – UEFA investigations pending, of course – and the super clubs will never linger far from the door.

For one similarly esteemed performer on the field during City's 2-0 Group C win against Dinamo Zagreb on Tuesday, the clock ticks a little louder.

David Silva has seen every act of City's uneven, frustrating, confusing and occasionally enthralling relationship with the Champions League. From the opening-night nerves against Napoli back in 2011, to goals in home and away wins over Bayern Munich and a bitterly timed early injury that robbed a torpid 2016 semi-final against Real Madrid of his beguiling qualities.

In 2010, the Spain playmaker joined a club without a major trophy in 34 years. He was integral to ending the drought, scampering and scheming in that unmistakable style of his in the left channel before Yaya Toure settled the 2011 FA Cup final against Stoke City.

Four Premier Leagues, four EFL Cups and another FA Cup have followed, with Silva claiming showpiece final goals to go with the one he netted to start Spain's demolition of Italy in the Euro 2012 showpiece. That was his second European crown with La Roja and he's also a World Cup winner.

The Champions League is his final frontier and, this being his final campaign at City, Silva looks to have one roll of the dice remaining.

A groin injury to his partner in playmaking perfection, Kevin De Bruyne, left Silva as City's chief creator as Dinamo's massed ranks of day-glo defence set about a lengthy vigil at the Etihad Stadium.

The 33-year-old's precision touches sometimes contrasted to a jarring extent with Benjamin Mendy's trigger-happy crossing bombardment, while namesake Bernardo Silva again strained unsuccessfully for last season's form.

At odds with their change strip, Dinamo's defence looked to submerge Europe's most prolific attack in darkness. Space was at a premium, but for Silva there is always just enough.

Shimmying around that patch of grass between the left-hand edges of penalty and six-yard boxes, where he casts his most convincing spells, City's captain knitted everything together.

A deft pass almost allowed Ilkay Gundogan to open the scoring, as Silva himself should have done from close range. A Mendy missile landed at his feet, bringing a reminder that finishing has never been his strongest suit.

City were held to their first goalless opening 45 minutes of the season and, as game-breaker Raheem Sterling replaced Bernardo Silva, their number 21 was prodding and cajoling with increasing intent.

Shifting closer to his old ally Sergio Aguero, Silva ducked past two challenges to have a 55th-minute shot blocked – one of those half-dribbles where a shift in balance and twist of the hips means little pace is required.

Sterling has the latter quality in abundance and after Silva darted to the byline to prompt a 65th-minute corner, the England winger opened the scoring.

Rodri's slide-rule pass, after Dinamo only partially cleared, found Riyad Mahrez in the inside-left position to cross for Sterling to apply the finish.

Both passes in the build-up were the sort Silva has played countless times in sky blue – it is nice to think of them as his legacy, building the sort of City goals he cutely crafted long after he is gone.

After nearly laying on number two for Aguero, Silva made way to a warm ovation for his presumed heir Phil Foden. The teenager gleefully thrashed in the game-sealing goal. Time waits for no man.

Against Dinamo, like in many other games over the past decade, Silva was City's inspiration. As the club captain who will lift any trophies come May, he should also be his team-mates' motivation to plot a route to Istanbul and that final frontier.

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